I’m getting so tired of waiting. Anyone else?? Last weekend I thought the “stay-at-home order” would lift and change but come Monday, for our little city, it didn’t. And I felt hope slowly whistle out of my heart, like a deflated balloon. “Just more waiting,” I thought to myself.
For an active, do-er and “go-get-um” type like me, waiting feels like a form of torture. And the dialogue between my brain and heart sounds something like this:
Head: “The waiting is needed, it will keep your family safe and help the greater good. Be grateful that you have a safe place to wait while the virus is taking and destroying lives. This is hard but it could be harder.”
Heart: “I understand, but can’t we just get on with it already! I’m tired of waiting. This seems excessive. I miss my people. I feel trapped. I want to give hugs and eat shared meals and stop seeing people through a screen!”
And as my insides battle it out, I look up to see my kids staring at our newest family pets. Five caterpillar cocoons hang in a little mesh tent in the middle of our kitchen counter. My aunt sent them as an Easter gift, because she loves me and knows their entertainment value is close to that of an actual babysitter. Ha!
This is also the level of pet I can handle, so I shamelessly milk it for all it’s worth. I say things like, “Better check on them kiddos. Can you tell them good morning? Do they need anything? Remind me of their names?”
And as we’ve watched them grow the past few weeks, they’ve transformed from caterpillars to hardened, grey little cocoons. As they hang there I realize:
From the outside they look lifeless but, on the inside, we know something new is growing.
They are waiting while Creation is working.
Though together, they are alone in the growing.
All they can do is wait.
And though waiting seems inactive and pointless, it’s their work to do.
Isn’t this true for us. The waiting is a necessary step before something new can grow.
And the process of becoming happens in the dark hidden space where it’s only you and the Creator.
If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of this space because there is no visible forward movement, it’s uncomfortable and it feels isolating. But just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s not good. When I look back on my life, my greatest moments of transformation came with great discomfort and happened within me, through God’s power.
So I want to trust Him again.
If I choose to believe transformation happens in the dark, then I can accept that this dark space, where it’s just a lot of me and God, has purpose.
And what really captured my attention, was in the first few days of the cocoon-phase, our little caterpillars would often shake violently as they hung there. It was so intense that I was afraid they would fall right off, and we’d have to say goodbye our newest and only pets. #parentfail
As they shook, I get worried, “Oh no, they are resisting! They are in trouble, or worse, pain?” “LJ is this normal?” “Hey Siri…do caterpillars shake….”
And my son interrupted my freak-out, “Mom, it’s ok the little guy is just getting settled.”
Just getting settled.
He was right. Turns out the shaking is normal in the beginning stages of the cocoon and they do it to ward off predators.
Well, I’ve been shaking pretty violently myself in this phase. I’m aggressively resisting my isolation and the dark space of “what’s next?” And I think my aggressive resistance is coming across as exactly that…aggressive. So my people are like, “Dev, you’ve been a lot angrier lately.” And I’m like, “Yes. Yes I have.” I don’t like it, so what do I do?
What if the key to peace, is for me to stop shaking and resisting and settle in.
What if I actively accept God’s invitation to be in this continued waiting space.
Because what I can trust God to do in nature, I can trust Him to do in me.
Where I feel powerless, I can surrender to God’s power working in me.
Where I feel helpless, I can accept God’s help.
Where I feel alone, I can trust He is always near, even if it doesn’t feel like it some days.
And instead of trying to feel better with numbing and distraction or just giving up to hopelessness, I can lean into the pain and listen in the darkness.
Because when I get still, and stop shaking, I don’t hear a clear answer or a laid-out-plan, but I do hear a steady, gentle whisper from within that says, Trust me.
If I truly believe my Creator is working while I wait,
then I can have the confidence to settle in and trust that He grows beautiful things out of the dark.
As I grow weary, He never does. He promises us:
“But those who wait for the Lord And trust in the Lord will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
I believe the wings are coming. I don’t know how and I don’t know when. The moment of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly happens in the dark space and is first only visible to the eyes of the Creator.
It’s not clear to the rest of the world until the wings break free.
Let us trust wings are coming.
May we keep on waiting. Alone and together.
"By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, In quiet and in trust your strength lies." (Isaiah 30:15)
May we have the courage to wait and be still, and let God do the saving and the growing.